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An Anancy Spiderman Story

by James Berry & illustrated by Greg Couch

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-689-81060-1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

A prophet sees a vision of palm trees in a dream, and the king offers a great reward to anyone who can make them appear. Anancy Spiderman sees his opportunity, and goes to ask Sun-Spirit to make the palm trees. Sun-Spirit is succinct: ``My work makes other works work. And other works make my work also work.'' He sends Anancy off to plead with Water-Spirit, Earth-Spirit, and Air-Spirit; each requires the others. Anancy isn't happy about sharing the reward, but figures he can get out of it later. The king rewards them all with a banquet. The rich illustrations in acrylic, pencil, and washes use kente-cloth patterns and areas bleached or misted over to great effect. The figure of Anancy himself is done with a wonderful conceit: His spidery aspects are hinted at by his long legs, arms, and flying robes, and multiple eyes are suggested by sunglasses, round glasses, and reading glasses worn all at once. Berry (Don't Leave an Elephant to Go and Chase a Bird, 1996, etc.) uses a lovely West Indian lilt that sometimes lapses—``Earth-Spirit looked like a beautifully rounded pile of black, brown, and white diamonds''—but otherwise fully enlists readers with its rhythm and repetition. A rollicking, original read-aloud. (Picture book/folklore. 5-9)